BELLEFONTE — Pizza Hut has been operating at the same East Bishop Street location since 1978, serving up families after ball games, high school kids after class and younger students who earned their personal pan pizza from the Book-It program.
Come spring, the restaurant will move to a new location in the heart of Bellefonte, in the Willowbank Plaza at Phoenix Avenue and Willowbank Street, said owner Roger Gates.
“The Bellefonte Pizza Hut has stood the test of time,” said Gates.
Now he is ready to prepare for the next chapter.
Gates said that while the new store will be smaller, it will have a modern feel with curb-side service and up-to-date sales equipment to meet the needs of today’s consumer.
Having been born and raised in Bellefonte, Gates said he looks forward to continuing to serve the town he cares about.
“It means a lot to me to be a part of this community,” said Gates.
While he knows that some customers will miss the salad bar and lunch buffet, he said he will too, but he understands that is something that many people do not feel comfortable with during the current pandemic.
The move was brought on because the lease was up at the Bishop Street location and the owners were looking to sell the property, Gates said. Gates wasn’t interested in purchasing the building so he looked for a new location and he thinks he found the perfect spot in the new building next to Talleyrand Park, which has been home to the Centre Boot Company for more than a year.
If the weather cooperates over the winter months and work crews finish transforming the space into a Pizza Hut, Gates hopes to open in March. In the meantime, the Bishop Street location will remain in operation.
He said to expect a week of non-operating between the closing of the old restaurant and the opening of the new one, to give time for his team to clean out the old space and prepare the new one for customers.